Author Bio: Walt Whitman

September 23, 2016

Author Bio: Walt Whitman

Five Interesting Facts about Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman is an outstanding poet in American history. Here are a few fascinating things that you may not have known about this legendary American writer.

1. Whitman Wasn’t Afraid of Controversy and Changed Editor Positions Often as a Result

Whitman was not afraid to tackle big issues as a newspaper editor. While this made it difficult to keep a job with a paper, it showed his determination to speak the truth regardless of who liked it. As a result, he reportedly worked for up to seven different newspapers in just a four-year period.

2. When First Released, Whitman’s Lifelong Masterpiece Leaves of Grass Was Considered “Profane”

Leaves of Grass was originally released as a collection of just 12 poems but ended up being a collection of over 400. While it is considered one of the most famous American works of literature in modern times, its reception in the 1800s was not as complimentary. The Boston D.A. called it obscene and threatened to prosecute due to Whitman’s frank sexual overtones. He had to get the book published in Philadelphia.

3. Whitman’s Family Were American Patriots

In fact, three of Walt’s brothers are named after early American Presidents:

  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Andrew Jackson

Whitman showed his own patriotism during the Civil War when he worked as a volunteer visiting wounded soldiers.

4. He Dropped Out of Grade School

Whitman left public school at age 11 to start working to support his household. He loved to read and primarily taught himself. This allowed him to become a teacher, a journalist, and one of the most famous American authors of all time.

5. His voice has been recorded reading his own work

Based on the Walt Whitman Archive, there is a 36-second wax cylinder recording of Whitman reading several lines of his poem, "America".

Walt Whitman’s works are surely an American treasure. Sign up for my newsletter to learn more, and honor the extraordinary life of Walt Whitman in your home with a beautiful print.